The Kinlochewe Post Office

Material on this page was extracted from the Argus Newspaper plus documents from the Public Record Office of Victoria -  Unit: 120 - Year: 1849 - File: 936 McKenzie, D., on Post Office at Kinlochewe, Sydney Rd and Unit: 142 - Year: 1850 - File: 2155 Kinlochewe, Post Office at approved, papers for, Unit: 120 - Year: 1849 - File: 936 Malcolm, J., on Post Office at Kinlochewe, Sydney Rd, plus various other sources.

The establishment of this post office was the first post office in our area. The geographical region once known as 'Kinlochewe' covered a relatively large area.  It ran approximately from the Merri Creek at the township of Kinlochewe in the east, out as far as Donnybrook and Kalkallo in the north, across to the Deep Creek in the west and as far as Somerton in the south.  The population of the area was growing rapidly and a need for a post office became blatantly obvious with residents receiving regular mail and newspapers, the nearest offices were Kilmore and Melbourne a distance of nearly 20 miles.

The Melbourne Argus, Tuesday 15th August 1848.

Country News

" I observe that a Post Office is to be established at Kinlochewe; this has been long desiderated, the inhabitants in the vicinity having to send for their letters either to Kilmore or Melbourne. The extension of postal communication highly advantageous to the interests of all and the exertions which have been lately made to bestow those advantages upon the province, by the Post Office authorities is highly creditable to them".

James Malcolm of Olrig, Kinlochewe was the first resident of the area to write to Henry Kemp, Chief Postmaster of the Post Office in Melbourne requesting a post office be established at Kinlochewe on Sydney Rd on the 1st of May 1849.  James wrote saying that the undersigned residents of Kinlochewe Sydney Road respectfully request that a post office be formed at this place and they can confidently say that the amount of correspondence would fairly justify in tending to their wishes and was signed by James Malcolm, Daniel McKenzie, George Beaver, Thomas McCrea,? Wedge?, ? & Croft and James Pearson.  The request was postponed due to lack of funds.

The next year in a letter dated the 14th of September 1850 Daniel McKenzie of Craigieburn, Kinlochewe again wrote to Henry Kemp the then Chief Postmaster of the Post Office in Melbourne, requesting that  'at the request of the residents a post office be opened at Kinlochewe' and 'that there was none nearer than Kilmore or Melbourne from each the distance was about 20 miles'.

The population in the neighbourhood was now 'very considerable' and many of whom were in receipt of regular letters and newspapers through the post office and experience 'great inconvenience' from the distance of the nearest Post Office.

Daniel McKenzie goes on to say that 'he understood that a sum of money placed on the Supplementary estimates for the current year was now at Henry Kemp's disposal for the establishment of additional post offices in the country districts' and 'Daniel hoped that Henry Kemp would be pleased without delay to sanction the establishment of a post office in the locality'.

At this stage Daniel 'had ascertained that Mr. Thomas Graham the proprietor of the Robert Burns Inn, Kinlochewe would be willing to accept the office of Postmaster' and he 'believed him to be a suitable person' and that 'he considered the Robert Burns Inn the most suitable situation for a post office for the district'.  Signed Daniel McKenzie Esq.

In receipt of Daniel McKenzie's letter Kemp noted 'that this district has been long urging for a post office and being situated on the main line of the mail, the expense would be attendant on it for conveyance of mail, but for it to be carried by the Sydney Mail Cart' and 'the small expense for outfit may be covered by the balance remaining from the surplus funds account voted from Ballan mail in 1850 and being the only likely cost for this year, perhaps his honor will be pleased to authorize this office'  signed Henry Kemp 17th September 1850.

He further noted that ' The surplus funds provided for the Ballan mail, in this year, will allow for expense of stamps for this "Kinlochewe' office - but the cost of the 'unpaid receiving box' and other small items would require that they be deferred till 1857'  signed Henry Kemp 21st October 1850.

Requisite instructions were issued for the establishment of the "Kinlochewe" post office accordingly by Henry Kemp on the 21st of October 1850.  The question of could the survey office give any information about a prospective change in the alignment of the road in this quarter?' were raised and Robert Hoddle answered that 'he was not aware that any changes were contemplated'.  Survey Office 21st October 1850

On the 25th of February 1850 the Chief Postmaster wrote to his Honor the superintendent respecting the establishment of the post office at Kinlochewe on the Sydney Road bringing to his Honors attention that he had received a communication from the residents of 'Kinlochewe' on the Sydney Road in the May of 1849, earnestly soliciting establishment of a post office there, and that a report has been sent on the 25th of May 1849.

The reason for the postponement at that time was that there were not enough funds but that was not the case now and the only expense attendant on the establishment of the post office at this place would be the customary outfit for the new office - provision being already made for the transmit of the mail as by the Kilmore and Melbourne conveyance passing that way and would his Honor be pleased to authorize the establishment of a post office at Kinlochewe as requested.  Signed Henry Kemp.

His Honor answered 'that he had no objections provided there was funds but Mr. Kemp must be sure of this or he will find himself in the same dilemma as last year'.

Henry Kemp then wrote again to his Honor saying that since last submitting the request the mail contractor had informed him that the conveyance of the Sydney Line of mails was not probable to be able to continue to transmit the mails by the present line of the road, throughout  the present winter - that is, the one just on the approach.  He would respectively submit therefore, that any thing to be done with regard to a post office for Kinlochewe, should be deferred till after the winter of this year.  Signed Henry Kemp, 7th of March 1850.

It was decided that the matter would 'be deferred for further consideration accordingly'.

On the 26th of November 1850 the Colonial Secretaries Office in Sydney wrote that his Excellency the Governor approved of the authorization of the establishment of a post office at Kinlochewe on the Sydney Road, eighteen miles from Melbourne, there being sufficient funds for the purpose.  Signed the Superintendent for Port Phillip.  The letter was dually recorded and returned to His Honor.  Signed by Henry Kemp, Post Office Melbourne, 26th of November 1850.

The post office at the Robert Burns Inn was opened and Thomas Graham was the postmaster.

The Melbourne Argus, 17th November, 1850.
HIS Honor the Superintendent
having been pleased to approve of the establishment of a Post Office at
Kinlochewe, on the Sydney Road, Mr. Thomas Graham to be Postmaster.
Notice is hereby given, that the same will he brought into operation on the
1st November proximo.  Mail lo close at Melbourne, Tuesday and Friday, al 1 o'clock, p.m.
Mail to arrive at Kinlochewe at 5 o'clock p.m. on same day.
Mail to close at Kinlochewe Monday and Thursday, at 12 o'clock, noon.
Mail to arrive at Melbourne, at 3 o'clock, p.m. on same days.
HENRY KEMP, Chief Postmaster. Post Office, Melbourne, 23rd of October 1850.

The Post office remained at Kinlochewe at the Robert Burns Inn until 1854 it was then moved to Donnybrook and renamed.  After 1854 the post office for the Craigieburn area was located at the local hotel.  The post office opened as officially 'Craigieburn' on the 25th of February 1866, until it was moved to the newly opened Craigieburn Station in 1872.  It remained there till 1911 when it was then located at the local store on Sydney Rd, Craigieburn run by the Cliffs.  Old age forced Mrs. Cliff to close to store in the mid 1950's and the post office was then relocated to the present site of today's shopping centre at Craigieburn.

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